• Grey Plover

    Grey Plover.   Photographer: Rob Parker

  • Square-tailed Kite

    Square-tailed Kite.   Photographer: Murray Chambers

  • Australian Pied Oystercatcher

    Australian Pied Oystercatcher.   Photographer: Mal Carnegie

  • Budgerigar

    Budgerigar.   Photographer: Mark Lethlean

  • Pacific Black Duck

    Pacific Black Duck.   Photographer: Con Boekel

There were a great number of very impressive images submitted, making the final selection very challenging. Many of these images would not have been out of place in the Advanced Level competition. Interestingly, a significant proportion of the 95 entries featured a (usually small) bird in very sharp focus, perched, with the background completely dropped out of focus. This is a highly effective means of keeping the viewers’ attention on the bird, however some of these images could have been even better if a little judicious cropping had been employed. Finding the optimal balance in a composition, particularly if it is a simple, “uncluttered” one, is an important element in determining the ultimate strength of an image. There were also several fine in-flight shots, always challenging, that depicted their subject matter in as lively a manner as possible. After much deliberation, these were my final selections...

Winner: Victoria’s Riflebird – Karen Emery (Image ID 23169)

An extremely worthy winner! I love everything about this image, the composition, the framing, the Riflebird’s pose, the luminous background colours, the sharpness of the subject matter, and importantly from a technical perspective, the exposure balance between foreground and background. Some fill-flash appears to have been deployed, but it has been used sparingly, avoiding that overpowered effect. A very beautiful image.

Victoria’s Riflebird – Karen Emery

Highly Commended: Crested Shrike-tit – Sandy Castle (Image ID 22816)

This is one of those images that the more you look at it, the more you appreciate just how good it is. The partial revealing of the Shrike-tit’s glorious plumage and striking head and bill between the leaves has an inherent authenticity about it, for this is the way we would see them in the field. I particularly like the complex jigsaw of shapes and colours created in the soft background, and mirrored in the cut-outs of the foreground leaves. My eye wanders around the composition, enjoying every detail, but then is inevitably drawn back to the golden breast and graphic face mask.

Crested Shrike-tit – Sandy Castle

Commended: Crested Tern – Rob Parker (Image ID 22860)

This is a wonderful, inspiring image, simply bursting with energy and life. Despite the contrasty light, the highlight and shadow detail have been skillfully retained, without over doing it. The elegant poses of the terns adds to the interest, and there is a nice visual connection between their black crests and the two shadows on the rock beneath them. I also like the space given over to the background, as it would have been all too easy to crop this tighter.

Crested Tern – Rob Parker

Golden-headed Cisticola – Kathy Zonnevylle (Image ID 23036)

A bird with serious attitude, beautifully captured! Of all the images of “small birds on perches” I referred to in my Summary Comments, this was my favourite, although it was a tough choice. Pin-sharp, there is a punchy energy about this shot that is so very impressive. It is of a very high standard.

Golden-headed Cisticola – Kathy Zonnevylle

Commended: Golden Bowerbird – Kristina Bernard (Image ID 22994)

This is an image that, by the photographer’s own admission, captures her best birding moment of the year. Something to be very proud of, as often we photographically miss that opportunity ourselves. Technically, the image is somewhat noisy and lacks overall sharpness, but critically, that mesmerizing eye is spot on. Additionally, it appears to be taken with only available light, no fill-flash (I stand to be corrected), and given such challenging lighting conditions it makes this image all the more impressive. This is a clear case of where the overall aesthetics take precedence over any technical weaknesses. Well done!

Golden Bowerbird – Kristina Bernard

Commended: White-fronted Chat – Ray Fox (Image ID 22790)

A sense of place is how I would describe this delicate image, that greatly appeals to me. I love the repetition of the wildflowers, the shallow depth of field leading you into and out of the frame, and the scale of the chat within its surroundings. I would have upped the contrast and saturation a small amount to add a little more punch, but that is purely subjective. The chat appears oblivious to the photographer, just going about its business in an inconspicuous manner, but full marks for recognizing the collective strength of the visual elements that make this image a work of art.

White-fronted Chat – Ray Fox


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